Service Samaritan


Service Samaritan

By Joanie Buettgen

Copyright 2010

My five-dollar coupon was stuffed in my purse as I entered the parking lot of a local car dealership. A large sign greeted me that read “Service Department.” Heading in that direction, I noticed the parking lot was deserted this early Monday morning. I wondered, “Why?”

We all think we have busy lives. We try to jam a ton of things to do into our daily routines. All we really want, and need is for our day to go as planned.

Sometimes, our lives have close encounters.

I anticipated that this vehicle maintenance appointment would last one hour-tops.

After parking my truck, I approached the garage. With me I carried a heart-stopping Dean Koontz book, a small purse, a writing notebook and pen, to occupy my time.

Then, I noticed a tall man with a green back pack approaching my way. This young gentleman had his satchel slung over his back. He wore a jean jacket, a floppy hat, tan flip-flops, and tan khakis. While he was approaching the service door, he was texting on his cell phone.

Usually when two people pass one another there is a, “Good morning” greeting exchanged between them.

We didn’t.

We approached the building at the same time. I went through the employee entrance door, he chose another door. I arrived at the service counter first, and waited. The back-pack man arrived after me.

Jerod, the service technician, was on the phone. I dug through my purse and to pull out a five dollar service coupon, and the keys. I placed them on the counter.

We both waited.

Then, a tall, dark-haired salesman appeared. “Who’s next?”

“I am.”

“How long will it take?” I asked.

“Oh…45 minutes should do it.” He answered.

Then, I headed for the waiting room.

In the lobby the magazine table was full. I chose two well-known publications and started to read. The TV was on.

I made a couple of comments to the back pack guy regarding a current TV ad.

There was no response from him. He just sat, occasionally looking at the TV, then repeatedly texted his confidant.

My appointment was short, as I noticed a service man heading my way with the finished paperwork in hand. As I approached the service desk, to pay my bill, I noticed a five dollar bill on the chair that had been occupied by the back pack guy. He had left the lounge.

I had to try to locate him and return his money.

I immediately went to the showroom, with the bill in hand, and looked around for him. He was nowhere in sight.

“Has anyone seen a guy in a hat, a green-back pack, and wearing khakis?” I asked.

“No.” Was the response from four different men in the show room.

I ventured over to the service department, to talk with the cashier.

“Has the gentleman, who was sitting over there, left already?” I asked.

“Let me check,” she replied. “Someone has picked him up…his vehicle is still here,” she stated. “Here’s his name and telephone number, you can use that phone over there…dial nine to get out.”
I called the number on the paper and noted that his name was Justin. I left a message about his lost fiver, and gave him my phone number.

When I arrived at home, I received a call from Justin. He seemed nice and we agreed to meet the next day, to return his money.

Justin never showed.

Just another columnist trying out this new stuff.
Published:, Minnesota Moments Magazine,, County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter.
Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.
Social Networking: Blog:,, http://www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.


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